The compelling heroine of Eve Marie Mont’s novel A Breath of Eyre returns to find truth and fiction merging through the pages of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic, The Scarlet Letter…
Emma Townsend is back at prestigious Lockwood Prep, but her world has altered immeasurably since her tumultuous sophomore year. The best change of all: her boyfriend, Gray. And though Gray is leaving for Coast Guard training, Emma feels newly optimistic, even if the pain of her mother’s long-ago death still casts a shadow. Yet Emma isn’t the only one who’s changed. Her friend and roommate, Michelle, is strangely remote, and old alliances are shifting in disconcerting ways. Soon Emma’s long-distance relationship with Gray is straining under the pressure, and Emma wonders if she’s cracking too. How else to explain the vivid dreams of Hester Prynne she’s been having since she started reading The Scarlet Letter? Or the way she’s found herself waking in the woods? As her life begins to echo events in the novel, Emma will be forced to choose between virtue and love. But can she forge a new future without breaking her heart? Goodreads
First of all, I love, love, love the concept behind the Unbound series. Honestly, what is cooler than classic literature literally coming to life to teach modern lessons? I'm just jealous I didn't think of it first.
Before I really dive into the review, I have to say that unlike A Breath of Eyre, A Touch of Scarlet deals heavily with sexual issues. Now, I probably should have seen that coming, considering that it pays tribute to a classic centered around adultery, but I had a dumb moment and I really wasn't expecting it. I was, however, pleasantly surprised with how tactfully, honestly, and maturely the issues were presented.
I'm going to try to do this without giving away as much as possible. The main issue in A Touch of Scarlet is homosexuality. Let me say right off the bat I do not agree with homosexuality. But, I don't agree with adultery either. The main lesson here is that there are very wrong ways to go about disagreeing with a person's choice or standing up for what you believe in. Just like Hester Prynne's scarlet "A", humiliating, shunning, or insulting another person is never the right way to handle a situation. (steps off soapbox)
I really loved Emma, even more than in the first novel. I can really relate to wanting to make everyone happy, yet having to draw a line somewhere to stay true to yourself. Although I didn't like the casual attitude towards drinking and illegal drugs, I know that is the reality of many teens. I respected Emma's way of dealing with peer pressure, and the way she stayed true to herself in her own relationship issues.
Something else that seemed more apparent in A Touch of Scarlet was the mystical/magical element. From Emma's connection to Gray, to her visions, to Michelle's aunt, it was very obvious that there was more going on than medicine can explain. Anyone who can take classical literature, Haitian Voodoo, and a New England prep school, smash them all together, and make it work has earned my respect.
I'm not 100% sure how I feel about some of the new friendships, but it looks like I'll have more time to make up my mind in the next installment!
Rating: 4/5 stars
YA notes: sexual references, mild language, drug/alcohol use.
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Expected publication: March 26, 2013
Okay authors/aspiring authors/ anyone else who wants to comment: I've noticed a lot of authors talking about and/or publishing playlists that they listened to while writing. I'm always looking for new ways to get the creative juices flowing, so I'm curious as to how this works. Do you just listen as background noise, or loop a particular song until you get a scene right?
When I read a playlist, I find it's about 50/50. I either completely see where a song fits the mood/ narrative, or I'm like "What does that have to do with anything?" So, which is it? Should you just listen to music you like as you write, or look for songs that have meaning to you in the the story, even if no one else will get it?
As a side note, doesn't listening to the song make it hard to concentrate on writing? Of course, it's hard to concentrate while listening to a screaming toddler as well, but you do what you have to do... I am completely open to comments, opinions, suggestions. I think it's an interesting idea, I'm just not sure how it works. Thoughts?
Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding.There, Miri also has a chance to attend school-at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place. Picking up where "Princess Academy" left off, and celebrating the joys of friendship, romance and the fate of fairy tale kingdoms, this new book delivers the completely delightful new story that fans have been waiting for. Goodreads
Shannon Hale is a true master in the art of story-telling. I loved Princess Academy because of the unique mountain culture, the young innocence of the characters, and the love of simple pleasures. Honestly, I picked up Palace of Stone expecting the same thing. Instead, I got caught up in the feelings of a maturing young woman learning the excitement (and danger) of huge, new ideas, being forced to decide on her own where her loyalties lie, and being brave enough to question the future she's always seen for herself.
If I ever have a daughter, I hope that she is like Miri. Her ability to think for herself, and trust her heart, drew me to her in Princess Academy, and she's the same (if a bit wiser) in this installment. Without saying too much about the plot, I love how deeply she feels about all the issues she's faced with, is unafraid to say she was wrong, and finds her own solutions.
*minor spoiler alert*The only possible complaint I have about the story is cleanness of the final revolution. I wish we could see more of the aftermath, but it did make a good place to end, with so much possibility, and yet all the loose ends tied up. This is a DON'T MISS READ for all Shannon Hale fans.
Hey guys, I just wanted to draw your attention to my lovely sidebar. I have a new widget! You can now add Holiday Magick (the next anthology I'm lucky enough to be a part of) to your Goodreads shelf! And don't forget to pre-order it in the "My Books" tab!